As you may have seen, a paper from Imperial College has concluded that the "managed epidemic"/"herd immunity" strategy followed by the government until now is simply not viable, because demand on the NHS would exceed surge capacity many times over, resulting in the deaths of 250,000 people in the UK. For comparison, the UK death toll over six years of the Second World War was 450,000. We all know Boris wants to be Churchill, but that would be taking it to an extreme.
I don't want to tempt fate in the way that some journalists have done tonight by taking it as read that the government will actually take heed of this paper. Admittedly, it's hard to see how they can ignore it, because it's essentially an update of exactly the same modelling that gave rise to the "herd immunity" strategy in the first place. But if we're now going to see movement towards a Chinese/South Korean-style suppression strategy, it's puzzling that there has been no sign yet of any U-turn on the decision to give up on testing of suspected cases and subsequent contact tracing, which the WHO have repeatedly made clear is the key part of any suppression drive. Hopefully we'll see progress on that as time goes on.
It's incredibly frustrating that it's taken this long for the penny to begin to drop, when simply observing the experience in China could have provided a short-cut and saved many lives. I recall watching an interview on the BBC News channel with a young doctor in Wuhan a few weeks ago, and he said the following -
"It turned out to be a pretty good idea to clamp down on travel, right? If it had been done earlier, it might have had a bigger effect."
"The mortality rate with this disease is still far too high."
"Other countries need to be very, very careful with this virus."
We should have listened to him from the start. But better late than never.